Sunday, July 25, 2010

So Long: A Letter to My Timid Heart

Dear Friend,

I scarce know how to begin a letter that is so hideously tardy. Forgive me, for we have not had a decent conversation in many moons. It is not that I have forgotten you, nor that I am without time to converse, but rather there is something that I have yet to tell you. But please, before I dispel my news may I diverge on a memoir of our happy friendship of past?

Was it infancy, the first time we met? For I cannot for the life of me recall our initial introduction! We’ve spent most our lives together; you were always one to accompany me, to comfort me and to offer to me your opinion, of which I have always held to be as good as gold. Daily we chatted and you consoled my every fear saying, “It’s just fine to stay where you are.” No doubt I would have been a mess without you—unsure and unconfident. Oh, Timid Heart—you rescued me! Daily you protected me from harm, from releasing the turbulent waters, which are my true feelings. Daily you protected me from danger, from the daunting height, which are my esteemed goals. If not for you, I might have drowned in embarrassment and criticism; the reward of any who dare beyond what is safe. Timid Heart, what a savior you… had been.

We spent endless hours together, so much in fact, that we became to some people, one in the same. It was hard to tell where I began and you ended, our traits, our fears, our personalities were startlingly identical. Countless the times I heard hushed whispers at my back saying, “Does she ever speak?” or “Why is she so timid?” Timid Heart, we were of such a kindred spirit, that to describe me, one had only to describe you! So, I became Shy. By this name I was introduced, identified, and satisfied, to be—a shadow of my best friend, a mere attribute of the one with whom I spent the most time.

But I, Shy, began to get attention; to my classmates it was somewhat remarkable how very few words really did proceed from my mouth. They approached me, my very own face, with…with questions. “Why are you so quiet?” or “What are you thinking about?” This scrutiny I could not bear, something needed to be done! But like a loyal lab, you came back to me, and you saved me once again. I told you passionately, “I want to disappear!” You answered, very cleverly, “It is not the crayon of dullest color that is over passed by the hand of fate, but the one who most resembles the Crayola to his left and to his right.” I looked to my right and to my left, with hard-pressed, examining eyes. Slowly I began to comment and compliment other’s attire, mannerisms and hobbies and slowly the questions stopped, my fear subsided and I was given a new name, Sweet.

This was by far the superior of my two names, for not only was I well liked… I was well hidden. This name brought on no hard questions, nor judgmental snickers, only smiles and hugs and sweet comments in return. It was a dream of a life. Well… except for those times when lonely thoughts crept in, and lonely feelings turned ‘round, and lonely tears slipped out. Come to think of it, I was not unaccustomed to falling asleep atop a damp pillowcase. But when the inner turbulence subsided, your motherly voice hummed my well known lullaby, “Sleep well tonight my dear, you really need’nt fear, while fools their tears they do expose, while their mangled insides undoubtedly shows, you wisely take heed that no one knows.”

After awhile, I, Sweet, grew in popularity. My presence was desired by many-a-audience and I was obliged and delighted to perform what they most wanted, a string of well-crafted and personalized compliments. While I spoke I believed I was sincere, but alone I doubted myself; I wanted so badly to believe that I lived up to my name. At least twenty people a year would sooth my wayward soul when signing my yearbook, “You are the sweetest person I know.” Phew, surly I could not deceive so many people.

Of whom do you really care? A whisper. What unwelcome Voice speaks so interruptingly, so intimately? I did not know, I did not care, I shook it off, and like a spider on a sleeve I wanted nothing to do with it. What was that all about? Of course I cared about other people, my friends. Did you really like her red blouse? Of course. Did you really think his comment comical? Yes... Did you really feel sorry for her after you listen to her cry? I don’t want to talk about! And I didn’t. You, Timid Heart were proud of me for warding of this Voice, and so was I. But time passed and the Voice increased in frequency and in volume. I felt uncomfortable; I was itching in my skin. This was not the first time this unrest had settled upon me; I had felt it before. As Shy, I began to loose control on my life, and I felt a deep urgency to call out for help, it was like I was swallowing a trumpet and gasping to keep from bursting forth! When I did let emotion slip, it was to you, dear Timid Heart. But here I was again, struggling to suppress an instrument that so badly wanted to sound. The tension built up, my grip loosened and… and…

“I am a girl of unclean lips! You are right! I care only for myself, and I do not think her red blouse is cute, nor his comments witty. I tried so hard to care that she was crying, but all I could think about was what she thought of me! I am wrong, urg… and I lie. I have tried my whole life to find out who I was. I thought I was Shy, I thought I was Sweet, but I now know am Sinner!” This night I cried out, much to your distress, Timid Heart, and heartily against your orders, I cried out to the Voice. We both sat trembling in our boots; my head was bowed to hide guilty tears from the invisible Judge, my knees curled up to shield whatever blow was to come. But then I heard it, or more like, felt it… the softest, gentlest whisper… Laura. You held my hand Timid Heart, and I trembled from head to foot. Laura, I have made a way. Something in His voice made me let go of your hand, I saw you shrink back in abandonment. But He knew my name; called me by name… never once in our years of friendship did you ever call me by my name. You gave me names, names of captivity, names that flowed off the tongue and promised protection, but provided only poison. While you shielded me from my true nature, He called me out for who I was, while you coved up my mangled insides, He eagerly embraced them, and while you encouraged my hurting tears, He wiped each of them with sympathy, knowing the weight and the reason for each drop.

Up ‘til that moment I never knew truth. I am Laura, not because I am what I am, but because the Voice spoke me into existence. I am Laura, not because I am strong, or good, or pure, but because the Voice has the power to make me so. I am Laura, a follower of this strong, yet gentle Voice.

Timid Heart, I can speak to you no more. So long.


  1. Laura, this is absolutely beautiful. I love it, and I feel so privileged to have read just an ounce of what the Lord has spoken to you. Thank you for sharing : )

  2. Courtney, thank you for your kind words. I am glad to share, compelled to really! Thank you for letting me know your thoughts, really. Sometimes I wonder if a make an ounce of sense :)

  3. Wow. This makes so much sense to me. I've been there, and still am way more often than I'd like. It almost made me cry :P

    Have you ever read "Hind's Feet on High Places?" This reminds me of that book.

  4. Jamie,
    I started "Hind's Feet on High Places" a couple years ago, but I don't think I finished it. I see the resemblance in the names and such though! Makes me want to go back and finish it now.

    Thanks for your words and your comments. I appreciate comments, because then I can know & grow to write in a way that people will grasp the truths that have changed my heart, the truths that compel me to post. Thanks Jamie!